The construction worker wears a hard hat dotted with the letters, “EEW” — which stands for “Energized Electrical Work.” His partner’s hard hat contains a “LOTO” sticker — “Lock Out Tag Out.”
The stickers immediately tell Kevin Scannell, 46, a safety consultant, that both workers have already been trained by his staff to work with powerful electrical equipment — EEW — and know the procedure for leaving a high-security area in a safe state — LOTO.
In other words, they’ve been instructed how to help keep their work sites safe for themselves, other employees and the general public.
Scannell, president of Scannell & Associates, is a contracted consultant for companies using construction firms as well other businesses that want to keep their workers and the public safe.
“Our primary job is to educate workers about safety,” said Scannell, who holds a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota in industrial safety. “Our other function is to save companies millions of dollars they would otherwise have to pay out for safety mishaps.”
These include medical expenses, lost time, insurance claims, lawsuits, repair costs and a variety of other safety and health-related expenditures.
Scannell, who began his career as an electrician and later became a safety consultant, is familiar with federal, state and local safety regulations for the workplace, but his advice and direction to his clients cover a much broader area.
“Federal and state regulations are usually very basic,” said Scannell, a Boston native who lived in Crofton, Md., until moving to the Valley in 1994.
“We provide highly technical advice to insure a safe work environment and we make sure their employees follow that advice,” Scannell said.
Besides basic construction work sites, his company also specializes in safety as it relates to petro chemicals, biotechnology and pharmaceutical.
He started his company four years ago, overseeing construction sites primarily for semiconductor manufacturing and construction companies in the East Valley.
“We had four employees, including myself, who are experts in their particular construction field like electronics, environmental protection and other workplace safety concerns,” Scannell said. “Eventually, we expanded and today I have 11 employees and we’re looking to open more branches on the East Coast.”
His general revenue jumped from about $300,000 the first year to several million today and is expected to continue growing, he said.
Scannell’s link with possible future East Coast firms is with his father, Jerry Scannell, a national and international leader in the health and safety industry for more than 35 years.
Jerry Scannell, who lives with his wife, Joanne, in the Boston area, served as head of worldwide safety for Johnson & Johnson.
He also was assistant secretary of labor in charge of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under President George H.W. Bush. The senior Scannell, who is now retired, serves as his son’s executive vice president.
“I didn’t realize my father was so involved in health and safety until I started working toward my master’s degree in health and safety,” Scannell said.
Meanwhile, Scannell’s projects in the East Valley deal mostly with semiconductor plants where, for example, he and his staff in recent months have worked with more than 3,000 employees for between 20 and 30 construction companies at the plant sites.
“Safety is a good business,” Scannell said. “It’s also a growing business, especially with the rapid increase in construction in the East Valley. Companies are realizing they can save a lot of money by training and educating their employees.
However, a lot of contractors are ignoring the basic regulations. They’re gambling. They’re putting their employees — and their company — at risk.”
Scannell offers safety classes for employees covering a variety of areas, including federal, state and local safety regulations as well as specific training for work areas that involve potentially dangerous materials such as acids, electricity and gases.
On average, eight employees out of 100 are injured on the job during one year, according to OSHA reports.
“Our company has reduced that OSHA average to less than 2 out of 100,” Scannell said. “We’re saving people.”
He and his employees regularly examine work sites to make sure regulations and workers are safe.
“I spent a lot of time on sight working directly with construction employees, but I’m trying to back off and devote more energy — and time — toward expanding our company,” Scannell said.
Family: Wife, Mary; children, Ryan, 20, Alex, 17, Taylor, 13, Jack, 3, and Kevin, 1; parents, Jerry and Joanne Scannell; siblings: two brothers and two sisters Company: Scannell & Associates, an environmental, safety and health consulting firm
Key achievements: In four years, his firm grew from four employees, including himself, to 11, mostly safety and health experts, and its gross revenue jumped from about $300,000 the first year to several million today.
Philosophy for success: “Know the trades. Work directly with workers to educate and instruct them about on-the-job safety. Make sure they go home with all their fingers and toes and that their companies comply with all safety regulations. That’s the secret of success.” — Kevin Scannell Information: (602) 403-2935 or
• Five percent of all deaths happen in the workplace.
• The average cost of a worker who gets a minor injury on the job is $1,500. A more serious injury requiring hospital emergency and other medical treatment costs $30,000 on average.
• Medical expenses an employer may be liable for include doctors’ fees, hospital charges, the cost of medicines, future medical costs, ambulances, helicopters and other emergency services. Other expenses can include lawsuits and fines.
Source: Scannell & Associates
In the hazardous materials business, color-coded diamonds are used to indicate the level of danger. The numbers are from 0 to 4, 0 having no dangerous effects and 4 being the most dangerous. The blue diamond represents the danger level to someone’s health if exposed to the chemicals, the red represents the fire danger, the yellow represents the reactivity and the white is for special instructions. This white diamond has a “W” with a dash through it, which means the chemicals inside are water-reactive.